Your Kitchen: Built for Speed!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We’re all pressed for time. Kitchens often go unused because it can simply take too long to cook, and seems more like a hassle than a help when you're trying to feed a busy family. In this hurry-up world, a clean, organized kitchen will get more use than a cluttered mess that’s difficult to use. Creating an efficient workspace makes for healthier, faster and more enjoyable meal preparation for everyone involved.
  • Clean and organize your pantry and cupboards. Throw out the old stuff and move the commonly used items to the front. Group together canned fruits, canned vegetables, tomato products, pasta items, canned meats, cereals, etc.

  • Clean and organize the refrigerator and freezer. Then designate a specific shelf, drawer and area for your commonly used items. Make a special place just for leftovers! Do the same in your freezer, with a section for meats, vegetables, entree dinners, etc. Don't pack the fridge tight; air needs to circulate to keep things fresh. Store meat on the bottom shelf of the fridge.

  • Label shelves so you know exactly where all your ingredients are and grocery storage is a snap—even the kids can help!

  • Make all of your small appliances easily accessible. The Crock-Pot, toaster oven, mixer, blender, dicer, can opener, pasta maker, wok—should all be clean, and in working order.

  • Create a leftover storage system. Have freezer bags, plastic storage containers, labels and markers handy. Label and date everything that gets stored in your freezer or fridge.

  • Untangle that jammed utensil drawer! You should be able to put your hand on just the right tool in 2 seconds flat. This includes the spatula, measuring spoons, measuring cups, ladle, can opener, knifes, pastry blender, etc. Hang frequently-used items on the wall, or store them in an open container on the counter for easy access.

  • Place a recipe box and cookbooks in full-view, not stuffed in a drawer somewhere.
Following these simple strategies, you can bring life and luster back to what should be the healthiest room in the house!

How do you keep your kitchen organized?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


KOALA_BEAR 6/26/2019
I don't have a pantry in the kitchen but there were old metal cabinets in the garage so I use those for most canned goods & extra dry ingredients like pasta & beans. I label leftovers & whatever goes into the freezer. Some spices are grouped in plastic tubs; all are in one cupboard w/ some other baking supplies. I have lots of storage having added a free-standing set of shelves. Cookbooks live on a bookrack on a spare room as I have so many, partly for inspiration & also for the hubby to use when he needs something to reference. Report
I hold all my cords (mixers etc.) With rubber bands from vegetables,, such as broccoli. OCD makes it very clear on my counters. And my spices are in alphabetical order. I can always find stuff if everyone puts it back. Report
I learned a lot from this article & the comments
Section. Great ideas. Report
I've done almost all of these (no leftover storage system, and no small appliance organization), but hard as I try, someone in my household doesn't play by the rules and it all goes out the window. So Frustrating. Report
Putting some thought into it helps. My husband groups things by category, while I like frequently used things easily to hand - in the first month of moving in, our kitchen changed organisation three times, but now the pans are close to the cooker, plates and glasses at waist/eye level etc etc.

We're now doing one final thing, changing a unit to open a boarded up window, and move coffee stuff next to the sink and spices next to the cooker. It won't cost much but it'll stop us bumping into each other, dripping water - and it'll add LIGHT.

Remember, it's not just about speed, but being happy while you're in the room, so music and art you enjoy, plus a comfy chair for while you're waiting for things to come to the boil, are ace additions. 😊 Report
I keep all my dry pantry items in glass jars. I then try to put the jars that fit into an old beer 6 pack box to keep them easier to handle. I try to keep things like beans in all similar shaped jars, things like old glass dressing bottles work well. I can then keep them all contained together in a 6 pack "box". Makes hunting for things so much easier! Report
Great ideas. Something else I do, is I have pictures inside the cabinets so when I'm not the one cooking or emptying the dishwasher, there's a visual guide for my BF who can't seem to read the labels. Report
I love my kitchen and of course keeping it all clean is a high priority. Not easily accomplished. I use the bin system in that I have a bin for pastas and dried beans, a bin for things for cooking, a bin for stuff needed for baking, a bin for cooking spices and a bin for baking spices. Once I got that organized the rest was easy. One cupboard for tins and bottles and one for dry things like cereal, marshmallows, and I keep all my pudding mixes and jellos in a drawer. Half my appliances are in the basement and the ones I use a lot are either on the counter like my electric can opener, bread machine, coffee machine, electric kettle and toaster. My kitchen is in a shape where the stove and fridge are opposite each other and the sink is equidistant from each. My best accomplishment is that we eat hot cereal for breakfast a large preplanned meal for lunch with salad and either pudding or jello with yogurt and then for supper we have one of 5 different soups which I cook in large batches and then either of those desserts again. Snacks are fresh fruit or dried. It has taken me years to get this system organized. Report
These area really great ideas!! I am horizontally challenged in the galley kitchen. An OCD-oriented woman once tried to "reorganize" me, but was frustrated that she couldn't move unused appliances and tools to the basement, as she saw I used them all in the course of a week or two. I can work with some clutter as I know where everything is. My spices are organized by those that I use the most together such as italian spices (basil, oregano, thyme and parsley) versus asian (curry powder, tumeric, cumin, etc). Put them all in alphabetical order and I would be lost!
I make more than what I use and freeze half for another day when I don't have time to cook. Make twice the rice and save half for the next meal. Buy frozen veggies when on sale and use them instead of fresh during winter months. Corn and other veggies can easily be frozen if you purposely make more for one dinner and freeze the rest. Half my prep work is already in the freezer... chopped onions, veggies, portions of fish, and canned veggies. Report
Good idea, this make a lot of sense. When you put everything in place as you say really make things easy to access. Report
In a kitchen that serves multiple people, it can be helpful to keep food in places specific to each person. My kids have certain foods that they can choose (many of which are unappealing to adults), so we keep them on low shelves where the kiddos can see hem. My husbands treats go on specific shelves. I can see them (and eat them if I want to), but I'm more in the habit of eating off of my shelves. Report
While I LOVE organization and am a neat freak - there are some arguments to not making your kitchen quite so efficient - think of the additional exercise you can get while zipping around your non-efficient kitchen while cooking and .. oooh .. what about not being able to find the food that you are craving.. you might even give up on those snacks that are not so readily available ?? ;) Report
Great ideas! Things I definitely need to put into practice, especially the freezer rotation. I was just looking int here this morning and saw things that need to be gone, especially items with gluten as my husband has been diagnosed with celiac disease. No need for them to take up freezer space!!
An organized kitchen starts with a clean and decluttered one ... take it from someone who doesn't cook much, but can't order in .... Report
I am the daughter of a highly organized Mom, so I learned many of these at an early age. One other thing Mom taught me which I used to laugh at a lot was to label and date EVERYTHING, spices etc.. I now do that and it really helps to make sure that frozen package of meatballs is still palatable, like the 2005 ones I found at the very back of the freezer recently. Having organized and frozen left overs so I can grab something for lunch as I race out the door helps with keeping me out of the fast food line and eating healthier at lunch. Great blog. Thanks Report
These tips make perfect sense! Why oh why didn't I think of diing these things before? Report
Great tips,You make me want to reorganize my kitchen.
Before going to the market I do a quick clean out of the frig and check my stock of fresh veggies.
My spices are in a plastic tray in the cupboard. I have three baskets One for frequent use, one for lesser use and the third is what I use forbaking. Report
Fantastic reminder - thanks! Report
Another idea for those of you who merged households, as I did three years ago, get rid of duplicates! When I moved in with my sweetie, he was a 69-year old widower who had married 15 years previously. We had three graters, four soup ladles, multiple saucepans, and even three food processors, among other things! He suggested I go through and pick out the best and get donate of the rest. I also picked out the freshest spices and herbs to keep. Bottom line, it's easy to keep drawers and shelves organized when there is room to spare. Report
I have a tiny galley kitchen so I keep things organized so that things are in reach of where they will be used: Pots & casserole dishes opposite the stove, glasses opposite the fridge, spices, things I add while cooking (hot sauces, soy sauce, oils, etc) either above or next to the stove. But I have little space for dry goods so they & some of my bigger pots (roasting pan, wok, stock pot) are on shelves in the living space of my apartment. Nice jars make it look less like my entire apartment is a pantry. Report
All great ideas and I have most of them in place. They work whether you have a tiny one-person kitchen or a spacious one like the one pictured. Another idea that works for us is to keep a master grocery list on the fridge (we go to Costco about every 4-6 weeks). When we use the last of an item or see that supplies are running low, it gets highlighted (highlighter hangs with the list along with a pen for adding new items). The list is divided by department for easy shopping -- frozen foods, canned and dried, beverages, paper goods, etc.. When we come home after shopping, I print out a new list, and add any items we couldn't find.
Pam Young has a lot of help with getting organized on her web site www.makeitfunanditwillgetdone(dot)c
Make It Fun and It Will Get Done. Report
Spices are in alphabetical order - it's the former librarian in me! Report
I Declutter My Kitchen More Than Any Area I Would Say. I Put My Most Used Tools Out Where I Can Get To Them In Containers Suitble For Them. Some Very Good Ideas That I Will Use. That's A Very Nice Kitchen! :) Thanks For The Tips! Report
Lots of great tips, Nicole. You are a multi-faceted woman. :-) Report
I deep spark clean every week that way i know what i need to replace in the cupboards and rotate my food in the freezer and move things forward to be used and not get lost in the freezer Report
I do most of that already though my cookbooks and recipe box are in the cabinet above the stove so they don't get the dust and grease that fly on them. I have found putting sticky notes on the pages of favorite recipes in my cookbooks help find them faster. Plus I plan my menus for the week and post on the refrigerator on index cards. I write the name of the cookbook on the bottom of the card so I can find the recipe quicker, along with a list of unusual ingredients needed to help with the shopping list. Report
I do most of these things already - organization is one of my quirks. But I'd sure love that kitchen! :) Report
good points. I also keep a supply of disposable utensils and plates/cups Report
Ergonomics is a fascinating discipline. Report